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Would We the People Ratify the Constitution Today? April 18, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
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We the People are the opening words of the preamble to the Constitution.  Many patriots glory in that name, “We the People” holding it aloft as a banner against the encroachments of an ever expanding central government.   In the minds of many it is connected somehow to Lincoln’s famous description of America’s government, “Of the People, by the people and for the people.”

Both of these were revolutionary terms when first spoken.

The people of the founding generation did not think of themselves as “Americans,” instead they saw themselves as citizens of their respective States.  The thirteen colonies, with the singular exception of North and South Carolina, were each founded as separate entities.  Each had its own history and relationship with the crown.  They banded together for the Revolution during which they established the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation.  This established a confederation composed of thirteen independent States.

When the secretly drafted Constitution was finally revealed to the public many of the leading lights of the Revolution were enraged by what they saw as a counter-revolution seeking to supplant the legally constituted Confederation of States in favor of a consolidated central government.   Some of them say the truth was revealed in the first three words, “We the People.”

Every school child can recite the most famous words of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death.”  You probably said those words in your head before you read them once you saw his name.  He is synonymous with America’s defiance to tyranny.  While these famous words ring in the heads of all, few know his opinion on the Constitution.

At the Virginia Ratification Convention in 1788, Patrick Henry said,

And here I would make this inquiry of those worthy characters who composed a part of the late federal Convention. I am sure they were fully impressed with the necessity of forming a great consolidated government, instead of a confederation. That this is a consolidated government is demonstrably clear; and the danger of such a government is, to my mind, very striking. I have the highest veneration for those gentlemen; but, sir, give me leave to demand, What right had they to say, We, the people? My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask, Who authorized them to speak the language of, We, the people, instead of, We, the states? States are the characteristics and the soul of a confederation. If the states be not the agents of this compact, it must be one great, consolidated, national government, of the people of all the states.

Ever since the Civil War fatally warped the original federal structure and We the People became a reality the central government of the United States has assumed more and more power until today totalitarianism appears to be within its grasp.  I am not referring to the crude overt totalitarianism of a Nazi Germany or a Soviet Russia instead I am referring to a soft totalitarianism, a kind of nanny state smothering of individual freedom, personal liberty and economic opportunity.  After the complete subjugation of the States to the central government by the Lincoln administration combined with the increased mobility of the modern era, we the people actually became the way most people think of themselves.

In America today we have a president who in a 2001 interview expressed his inner most thoughts about the Constitution,

If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

That is as clear a statement of the way our Progressive leaders view America’s founding document, a charter of negative liberties.  A charter that they believe needs to be expanded with a second bill of rights first proposed by FDR in his 1944 State of the Union Address,

  1. A realistic tax law—which will tax all unreasonable profits, both individual and corporate, and reduce the ultimate cost of the war to our sons and daughters. The tax bill now under consideration by the Congress does not begin to meet this test.
  2. A continuation of the law for the renegotiation of war contracts—which will prevent exorbitant profits and assure fair prices to the Government. For two long years I have pleaded with the Congress to take undue profits out of war.
  3. A cost of food law—which will enable the Government (a) to place a reasonable floor under the prices the farmer may expect for his production; and (b) to place a ceiling on the prices a consumer will have to pay for the food he buys. This should apply to necessities only; and will require public funds to carry out. It will cost in appropriations about one percent of the present annual cost of the war.
  4. Early reenactment of the stabilization statute of October, 1942. This expires June 30, 1944, and if it is not extended well in advance, the country might just as well expect price chaos by summer. We cannot have stabilization by wishful thinking. We must take positive action to maintain the integrity of the American dollar.
  5. A national service law—which, for the duration of the war, will prevent strikes, and, with certain appropriate exceptions, will make available for war production or for any other essential services every able-bodied adult in this Nation.

According to Cass R. Sunstein, the former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, President Obama not only believes in FDR’s Second Bill of Rights he seeks to implement them,

As the actions of his first term made clear, and as his second inaugural address declared, President Barack Obama is committed to a distinctive vision of American government. It emphasizes the importance of free enterprise, and firmly rejects “equality of result,” but it is simultaneously committed to ensuring both fair opportunity and decent security for all.

In these respects, Obama is updating Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights.

We are in the grip of the Federalists on steroids bent on redistributing their way to total power.  The question before us today is, “Would we the people ratify the Constitution today?”

Even Conservatives believe in a safety net.  Everyone contributes to and hopes to receive from Social Security.  No one wants people dying in the streets because they can’t get medical care so Medicaid is available to the uninsured.  Of course Medicare is considered a right for anyone over 65.  Unemployment is an accepted part of the safety net as are food stamps.  If you add up what is already accepted and expected then throw Obamacare into the mix and you see we have become a society addicted to entitlements all of which would fail the test of a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

The 10th Amendment says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  The power to do any of these entitlements is not delegated anywhere in the document as it is written, only as it is interpreted.

So would we the people ratify the Constitution as it is written today?  I think not.  A living document has turned the Constitution into a dead letter and the entitlements we have all accepted have turned the descendants of the Founders, Framers, and Pioneers into supplicants standing before the federal throne waiting for a check.

Only a re-birth of self-reliance, a renaissance of historical perspective and renewed political activity have a chance to bring about a rebirth of liberty in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Keep the faith.  Keep the peace.  We shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

You Say You Want a Revolution April 3, 2014

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Our revolution changed the world. Our Declaration of Independence proclaims self-evident truths. That all men are created equal, they’re endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These words shook a world held in the vise-grip of hereditary privilege inspiring people around the globe. Our Constitution established a representative republic with a limited government of the people, by the people and for the people.

We’ve watched as our constitutionally limited government grew until today it’s a leviathan running amok like Godzilla in Tokyo smashing things and scaring boy scouts. Today the Federal government is the largest employer in America, states are the largest employers in the states and counties are among the largest employers in the counties get the picture? Government is on a rampage and unless Mothra is going to fly in to save the day we’ll have to deal with Frankenstein-on-the-Potomac ourselves.

Such brazen power-plays as the Executive branch issuing the Legislature an ultimatum, either pass Cap-N-Trade or we’ll impose it administratively through command-and-control make the dramatic changes in our political culture shockingly apparent.   Has our balance of powers melted away under the glare of executive orders, signing statements and now ultimatums?   Some people say this is evolution. To others it’s devolution. Our hard-won and dearly-paid-for Republic is devolving into a command-and-control all-encompassing central-state.

With political dynasties bequeathing congressional seats like hereditary fiefdoms it’s becoming hard to explain why we left the British Empire. Today we not only have taxation without representation as congressional party-line voters ignore their constituents we also have representation without taxation as the perpetually re-elected Lords and Ladies represent the illegal immigrants and the professional welfare hammock-riders.

These big government social planners may believe they’ve achieved their community organizing goals fulfilling Historian Will Durant paraphrase of Lincoln’s famous quote, “It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.” They may believe their revolutionary administration will fundamentally change America however, if they’d step 20 miles outside the Beltway obviously there’s a counter-revolution brewing. The Tea Party is overtaking the Republican Party in popularity. It has already supplanted them at the grassroots of the conservative movement. By 2010 an avalanche of voters thronged the polling places demanding their country back.

Following the tactics of Saul Alinsky brought the Obama-Acorn-SEIU coalition control of the Democratic Party and the country but following the Cloward/Piven Strategy for overwhelming the system to impose an alternative system is going to lead to a complete repudiation of this radical departure from traditional American politics and economics. We aren’t Venezuela. Even after decades of legislative efforts to progressively create a permanent underclass of government dependents who’ll follow the leader to the next looting of productive members of society the majority in this country still want freedom and opportunity not cradle-to-grave mediocrity.

We can and should stage a counter-revolution against this growing tyranny. A peaceful, lawful revolution at the ballot box and if you’re talking about destruction, you can count me out. The last thing we need in this crowded theater full of combustible emotions is either a match or someone shouting fire. Any incident right now would trigger a massive response. Just as the executive is using the EPA to impose the onerous restrictions of a Cap-N-Trade style economy stunting strangulation of regulations he’s also using ICE to change the enforcement of immigration policy and cook the books without any messy debate.

Ruling by decree, “I have a pen and I have a phone,” is hardly compatible with constitutionally-limited government. We’re told the administration has solutions. They sold us a solution to heal the greatest health care system in the world “If you like your plan you can keep your plan. Period” lik e a pig-in-a-poke. They claim to have a solution to save or create jobs while we lose jobs every month, a draconian solution for the man-made global warming hoax, a solution for endless wars for elusive peace. You say you have a solution. We’d all love to see the plan.

They say they want a contribution. Back in the good old change we could believe in days the dialogue of class warfare repeated that no one making under 250,000, or was it 150,000, or was it …anyway only the evil rich would have to pay a dime of new taxes. Watch out! You might find out you’re rich come next April 15th.

Everyone has known since at least that tax-cutting wild man JFK that cutting taxes increases revenue to the government and raising them lowers revenue. Since the government knows raising taxes lowers revenue and since they’re raising taxes to increase revenue what are they trying to do? Complicated tax codes are used as a way to incentivize and de-incentivize behavior.

If you want more widgets give tax breaks for buying widgets. If you want less widgets tax widgets. Using that for a guide notice what’s being pushed and what’s being pulled? Taxes on producers and tax breaks for non-producers imagine tax cuts for people who don’t pay taxes and tax increases for those who do. Taking the money of producers to bailout the greedy, reward the cronies and support the lazy. It’s time to tell the statists at the ballot box if they want money for things we hate they’re going to have to wait.

Executive orders and signing statements have been used in Republican and Democrat administrations for years to change the constitution without changing the Constitution. Now sweeping new powers by regulators threatens to make Congress irrelevant as an all-powerful executive branch grows like a malignant tumor. Don’t lose heart, don’t despair, don’t you know it’s going to be all right? Keep the faith, keep the peace, organize and win the day. We shall Overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Why Can’t We Change? February 7, 2014

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Paths with no obstacles usually lead nowhere.

Among those who hallow the Constitution you will find no more loyal devotee to this document that helped continue the limited government established under the Article of Confederation.  There is no one who believes more passionately than the author of this article that the Constitution provided the space for the individual freedom, personal liberty, and economic opportunity needed to foster the growth of the greatest nation this world has ever seen

However, it is only necessary to read The Gilded Age by Mark Twain to see how corruption and greed, crony capitalism and lobbyists have been building their own kingdoms since before any of us were born.  And just as it doesn’t take a weather man to know which way the wind blows it doesn’t take a constitutional scholar to know at this time and in this place the Constitution has failed.

Look at the path America is on.  Do you think our current leaders or our current policies will lead to a renewing of America or to its slide into the second tier of nations?  Think about the directions laid out for us.

We are told by the Progressives who lead us that perpetual continuation of unemployment payments for the long-term unemployed is good for the economy and good for jobs.

If unemployment creates jobs and is good for the economy why don’t we just give it to everyone who doesn’t have a job in perpetuity, and make it a thousand dollars a week for good measure?

Increase the minimum wage to $10.10.  This will create jobs and help the economy.  Our leaders say there are just too many people laboring for the current starvation wage of $7.25. While according to CNN Money, “An estimated 3.6 million people were paid hourly rates at or below the federal minimum in 2012, down from 3.8 million a year earlier.  Just under 60% of all U.S. workers are paid hourly, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. An estimated 4.7% of those hourly workers make minimum wage or less, down from 5.2%, a year earlier. That share is the lowest since 2008.”  That’s quite a few people: 3.6 million, and obviously worthy of notice.

However when 16 million people had their healthcare plans cancelled due to Obamacare we were told this was an insignificant number.  As with everything connected to Obamacare the numbers of those who have lost insurance coverage as a result are sketchy.  Some sources say more than 4.2 million Americans have now seen their health insurance policies canceled due to the new regulations. And the President’s spokesman said that 14 million losing their healthcare is just a “small sliver” of the population.

We must increase food stamps.  This is the only humane thing to do since so many go to sleep hungry at night, and besides it will create jobs and it’s good for the economy.

If food stamps spur economic growth why not just give them to everyone and on a handy plastic card that works at marijuana stores and casinos.

We must have comprehensive immigration reform, the code words for amnesty because it will create jobs and it’s good for the economy besides the illegals have earned the right to be citizens. This comes not from some general in La Raza it comes from our own Secretary of Homeland Security.  If illegal immigrants have earned the right to be citizens why don’t we just dispense with borders and give citizenship to every undocumented democrat who can walk across the line.

Look at these continuing soap operas we find as our national policy.  These are transparent wealth transfers, give aways, and oxymoronic programs building bridges to nowhere.  All passed by the gerrymandered representatives of K Street that make up the perpetually re-elected representatives of our nation and lame excuses for leadership proposed by empty suits who have occupied the White House since Reagan went home to California.

What’s a patriot to do?  There is a remedy in the Constitution for the failure of the Constitution.  It is found in Article V which describes the amendment process. This provides two ways to amend the Constitution: either Congress initiates an amendment or the States can call for a Constitutional Convention to consider amendments.  The first method has resulted in 27 amendments.  The second method has never been used.

Many people fear a Constitutional Convention.  Many believe that it would open a can of worms and lead to the destruction of our limited government.  Our limited government has already been co-opted by the Progressives and turned into a Leviathan which is quickly devouring every limit and every freedom in its path.

What we have is not working, and it hasn’t worked for quite some time.  I believe Article V at least provides a method to attempt to return to limited government peacefully.  Let’s give peace a chance.  I believe that the principles of liberty can win in the marketplace of ideas.  Let us engage in a debate to save our present and the future of our children.  To continue the way we are going leads to a democratic totalitarianism of the majority.

If we could find the faith and the courage to call a Constitutional Convention for what should we advocate?

I propose we do as our ancestors the Framers of our Constitution did when they were called upon to propose amendments to the Articles of Confederation.  I propose we write a completely new document.  Where do I get the chutzpa, the hubris to call for such an outcome?

By remembering why governments exist at all, “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  And never forgetting “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect (sic) their safety and happiness.”

Our system is broken and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put it back together again.  If we stay within the bounds of what has been done in the past what are we to do?  Propose a Balanced Budget Amendment or a Spending Restriction Amendment?  Or perhaps an amendment that says, “The Constitution means what it says not what judges interpret it to say” and then stand back while the Supreme Court interprets that to mean as one Chief Justice said, “The Constitution means what the Supreme Court says it means.”

If we continue to play the same game by the same rules we will lose the same hand because the deck is stacked.  This is when we need to remember: paths with no obstacles usually lead nowhere.

Let us be as bold and brave as our forefathers.  Let us propose fundamental change and roll the dice.  If you don’t swing the bat you don’t have a chance to hit the ball.  If we continue on the road we are traveling the only thing left to say is an attempt to explain how and why we let freedom slip from our grasp.

I believe that no one is as smart as everyone, so the ideas I am proposing I do not see as the beginning and end of debate.  I see them instead as a starting point.  Let’s join together, demand a hearing, and move forward in an attempt to reinstate limited government and preserve this last best hope of mankind.

First of all I stand for retaining the amendments with the exception of the 16th and 17th and enshrining them within the original document.

I propose eliminating the office of President and changing to a parliamentary style government based upon the majority in the House electing a Prime Minister who is head of government and head of State.  Elections for the House should continue on a two year basis.

I propose that we keep the Senate but that it reverts to its original intent as the representatives of the States and those Senators are once again elected by the legislatures of the States and serve at their pleasure.

I propose stronger guarantees for the States in a renewed Federalism: a true confederation similar to that of Switzerland.

I propose that since the scope of Federal jurisdiction will be severely restricted, the Federal Court System along with its power of judicial review be abolished.  The State court systems are well able to handle the civil and criminal cases brought within their boundaries.

I propose that the Supreme Court be abolished and replaced by a Constitutional Court similar to Germany’s.  This court would be physically removed from the capital, and it shall have no jurisdiction beyond Judicial Review having the power to declare laws and actions of the Federal Government unconstitutional.  The Congress shall have the power to override these rulings by a three quarter majority in both houses.  Judges shall serve four year terms with only two terms allowed.

I know that these proposals will make some people very upset.  I know these proposals will make some quit reading this History of the Future.  I also know that is we do not do something to break the log jam the river will not flow free.

Yes, there are what seem to be insurmountable obstacles to change.  I know these obstacles are daunting, and they will not be overcome by the timid.  However, paths with no obstacles usually lead nowhere, and if what we have is no longer working, why can’t we change.

Keep the Faith.  Keep the peace.  We shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

Are the States Out of Date? July 5, 2013

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The people of the founding generation did not think of Americans as Americans. They did not see them as one people but instead as citizens of the various states. Even as late as the Civil War, people such as Robert E. Lee, who disagreed with secession and wanted a united United States, left because his State seceded and not because he suddenly wanted Virginia to be another country. Another example of the feelings of many in the founding generation was the fact that the term “We the People of the United States” that opens the  preamble to the Constitution caused great controversy during the ratification debates. It was pointed out as a blatant attempt to make the States irrelevant.

The Constitution was meant to improve the federation of the various States as created under the Articles of Confederation. It was not meant to create anything new. This was stressed over and over by the supporters of the Constitution in the ratification debates. The Framers voted by State, and, though some of the Framers wouldn’t sign the completed document, since it was adopted by all the States it was called unanimous. The ratification votes of the various conventions voted by state not as individuals. As provided in the original document the members of the Senate were not elected by the people at large. They were instead selected by the State legislatures. The house was designed to represent the people, and the Senate was designed to represent the States.

The Constitution never would have been ratified without this provision designed to protect the States from losing their integrity as sovereign republics which had voluntarily joined together. This was essential and this was generally understood.

So when was our social contract revised? How can a contract be unilaterally revised?

When did we agree to surrender our liberty in exchange for security? When did we agree to move from a voluntary federal republic to a centrally-planned democracy? When did our freedom from warrantless searches morph into 360° surveillance? When and how were the guarantees found in the Bill of Rights turned inside out and upside down?

The scariest thing I see about all this as I travel around the country is not that our totalitarian wanabes will use any excuse and any subterfuge to undermine limited government for the benefit of their power and their crony capitalist’s profit. No, that doesn’t scare me or surprise me at all. What catches my attention is that as I speak to more and more people about this creeping corporatism the majority of them say things like, “I’m glad the government is watching out for terrorists” or “If you’re not saying or doing anything wrong why should you care if the government listens in?”

Not only have Americans been dumbed down to the point where the majority of college freshmen need remedial studies, but these descendants of the pioneers have lost sight of the American Dream. Asked “What is the American dream?” most citizens today will recite the pabulum spooned out by the Federal Reserve Bubble Machine, the political hacks who gave them power, and the Wall Street Casino that profits by the game: “The American Dream is to own your own Home.”

That is not the American Dream! The American dream is limited government, personal liberty, and economic opportunity.

At what point do unilateral changes to a contract render it null and void?

I have long said, it will still be called the United States of America. The stars and stripes will still wave, there will still be elections, and we will still hear that this is the freest most prosperous nation on earth as our freedom slips away and our opportunities shrink.

During the ratification debates it became clear that the Constitution would not be ratified unless there was a promise that the first order of business for the new government was going to be to amend the document to state some things that a majority of people thought were missing. The promise was made and the first ten amendments were added. Today we call this our Bill of Rights. While some people can recite all of them and many more can recite a few almost every American knows they exist. The Bill of Rights has a treasured place in the American heart.

Few if any know what was said in the Preamble to the Bill of Rights, which is neither mentioned nor studied today. This sets out their purpose and is enlightening as a starting off point for understanding what they are and what we are losing.

“THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution” (emphasis added). The Bill of Rights was added in order to prevent misconstruction, or the words of the document, or abuse of its power by the government to be established under the Constitution. This could not be possible unless the words of these amendments were supposed to mean what they say, not what black-robed partisans can interpret them to say.

The Bill of Rights were not written nor adopted in their order of precedence. The number one amendment requested by the States was set as the 10th or capstone. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” In other words, above all the citizens of the various States were concerned most that the central government not run rough shod over the States which were the home republics closest to and controlled by the people. They feared that the central government would become a Leviathan, crushing dissent and smothering freedom.

And they never heard of the IRS, the NSA, or the EPA. They never imagined an unelected, appointed for life Supreme Court that would cancel amendments to State constitutions that were legally adopted according to the processes within those constitutions. Not since they had overthrown King George had they lived under the suffocating tyranny of a Patriot Act or rule by decree such as executive orders.

According to the amendment  process in the Constitution, the States can offer amendments to the Constitution by calling for a convention to propose such amendments. Many people are afraid of a convention believing that those who advocate for a limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom could not carry the day and the Constitution would be altered in a negative way.

It is time to admit to ourselves that the progressives have been and are changing their “Living Document” every day in countless ways: executive orders, regulations (from the EPA for example) and legislation (the 4th Amendment bending Patriot Act for example). We must face the fact the dam has broken and the foxes are guarding the hen house. The ship has sailed and the fix is in. We need a reset button before we slide completely into the abyss of totalitarianism. The flag will still fly, the national anthem still play, yet the land of the free and the home of the brave will be fundamentally transformed into a centrally-planned, regimented, surveillance state.

Once the scales have fallen from our eyes and we see that just because they call themselves liberals, people who want to control every aspect of every one’s lives are no more liberal than any of the other statists who have sought total control to impose their idea of utopia on anyone at any time in any place.

What we need is an American Spring. We need Americans to act like Americans and demand the freedom that is their birthright. Freedom is not just another word for nothing left to lose. We the People who believe in limited government, personal liberty and economic freedom have got to unite or we might end up joining a worldwide chorus singing, “And freedom, oh freedom well, that’s just some people talkin’ your prison is walking through this world all alone.”

The center no longer holds. We must all work to influence our States, our home republics, to reign in the runaway Washington-centered bureaucracy machine before we are strangled in the red tape and buried in regulations.

The States must prove their relevance or perhaps the States are out of date.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

The Revolution Passed in the Night April 26, 2013

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Many things are holding the headlines hostage, the terrorist attacks, the crippling effects of Obamacare, the prospect of expanding war in Syria, and as always Iran.

There is one over-riding constant that defines as it divides the present era: the fact that America has a President who advances values and policies diametrically opposed to the traditional beliefs of a vast number of Americans.  From bowing to foreign leaders to not knowing how many states there are, from vowing to fundamentally transform America to actually doing it, President Obama is to many the Manchurian Candidate.

Elected the first time on a vague promise of hope and change he has been re-elected on a blatant promise to re-distribute the wealth and complete the transformation of  America into a welfare state.  His bureaucratically imposed policies such as Cap-n-Trade and the Dream Act are blatant end runs around the authority of a Congress that overwhelmingly rejected both.  The alarming reality we all must face is that for the first time in American history we may actually have a president who is anti-American.

Barack Obama is blatant in his anti-American rhetoric.  Such as:

In America, we have this strong bias toward individual action. You know, we idolize the John Wayne hero who comes in to correct things with both guns blazing. But individual actions, individual dreams, are not sufficient. We must unite in collective action, build collective institutions and organizations.”  Emphasis added.

And what would help minority workers are the same things that would help white workers: the opportunity to earn a living wage, the education and training that lead to such jobs, labor laws and tax laws that restore some balance to the distribution of the nation’s wealth …”  Emphasis added.

But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. And to that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted. And the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties — says what the states can’t do to you — says what the Federal government can’t do to you — but it doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf.

And that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that …” Emphasis added.

These positive rights are what Progressives have been trying to establish since FDR floated his idea of a second bill of right which included:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad
  • The right of every family to a decent home
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment
  • The right to a good education

Now all of these sound great and in a perfect world might make up a laundry list of prizes falling out of the cornucopia of utopia.  In a real world they would mandate a government large enough to provide everything and powerful enough to take everything away.

The whole idea of having a constitution is to limit the government which is in essence a charter of negative liberties.

President Obama goes on to state, “Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune.  ‘The market will take care of everything,’ they tell us.  If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger.  Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers.  But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else.  And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

Now, it’s a simple theory.  And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government.  That’s in America’s DNA.  And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker.  But here’s the problem:  It doesn’t work.  It has never worked.”

And of course there is his infamous “You didn’t build that” statement which exposes his complete misunderstanding of what it takes to start and grow a business.

With a leader such as this whose basic understanding of America is at such odds with those who once constituted the majority of the citizens and the continuity of our History is it any wonder that so many feel as if they are living in a conquered nation?

Conquered by who?  As Pogo once told us, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Or as Garet Garrett, quipped as he chronicled the fall of the Republic and the rise of the American bureaucratic Empire said, “There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs to freedom.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

It Can’t happen Here January 10, 2013

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Revolutions happened in other countries.  The USSR, their satellite countries in Eastern Europe and Asia, African countries, and of course those banana republics somewhere down south, but one thing is for sure, it can’t happen here.  Following in the footsteps of giants who have used these prophetic words of Sinclair Lewis I want to examine how it did happen here.

In the America of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, in the America we inherited from our forefathers we knew that there could never be a revolution.  We had the Constitution with its checks and balances, its separation of powers, and its Bill of Rights.  These were rock solid, carved in stone, and strong enough to preserve the Republic and safe guard the freedom of its people.

Besides the American people would not stand for some wannabe dictator and his brown, black or whatever color shirt followers marching through the streets and into the White House.  The sons of the Pioneers wouldn’t sit still for any attempt to curtail limited government, personal freedom, or economic opportunity.  No way!  No how!  Others might accept censorship, surveillance, and rigged elections, but not us, not Americans.  We had fought wars to defend our independence, wars to defeat totalitarianism; we had even fought wars to spread freedom.  No, we wouldn’t quietly allow homegrown tyrants to grasp the levers of power.

I sounds so comforting, “It can’t happen here.”  If you take a beginning Political Science class in either High School or College you will learn how the government works. How bills become laws, how the legislature is made up of the freely elected representatives of the people, how the President runs the executive branch and the Supreme Court sits atop the judicial branch.  You will learn about the Declaration of Independence and how the Constitution was written to replace the Articles of Confederation which were too weak to work.  Yes, you will learn all about how it’s supposed to work.

In most schools you will also learn that the Constitution is a “living Document” that can be re-interpreted to fit every generation and every age.  The results of 100 years of re-interpretation have led us to the brink of ruin and me to recommend that the study of the Constitution be moved from Political Science to History, since what rules us today is legal precedent and bureaucratic regulation.  The courts use foreign laws and traditions to interpret our laws and traditions.  The legislature passes laws they don’t read filled with thousands of pages of vague platitudes and goals that the bureaucrats fill in with no oversight and the force of law.  And the President does whatever he wants and no one says a thing.

So how did America fall for the oldest con in the world: “Give me your freedom and I’ll give you security?”

Those who wished to gain power had no ideology or theology which inspired them.  They only sought power for power’s sake.  They espoused whatever populist themes gave them the broadest support.  To bring as many interest groups as possible into their coalition they embraced an “I’m okay you’re okay” relativity that rejected absolutes and extoled the fringe as the mainstream.

And all the while the decedents of the blacksmiths and farmers who once congregated on corners to discuss the latest political pamphlet or to debate the merits of economic policy snoozed on the couch waking up long enough to go to work or watch the game.

The Revolutionaries of the New America first took root in the faculty lounges of academia providing the intellectual and cultural cover for an American movement that promoted the opposite of everything America stood for.  From the classrooms of our colleges, came the next generations of teachers, journalists, lawyers, artists, and politicians.  Soon it was common knowledge that our once rock-solid Constitution was a Living Document to be twisted and changed whenever those in power found the need.

From here it was just a matter of time until a revolution was accomplished through evolutionary change.  Once the centers of power were secure in Washington, Hollywood, and in the media the trickle of change became a torrent and the torrent became a tsunami.  Two wings on the same bird of prey, perpetually re-elected representatives from the twin headed party of power pander to the lowest common denominators, buying votes, using taxes to punish enemies, and tax money to reward friends. 

Our tyrants-in-training have captured the government and the economy, created a dependent class of motor-voters, convinced people that a continually growing debt is sustainable, and turned the government into the one who picks winners and losers instead of a free economy.  The slow slide down a slippery slope has accelerated into a precipitous procession over a predictable precipice.  To those who have seen this coming it is like watching a slow motion train wreck.  The coming destruction is not mitigated in the least by the decades or warning.

Our prideful boast of it can’t happen here has become a heart wrenching analysis of how it did happen here.  How did the Progressives capture our land and subvert our Republic?  They did it gradually inch by inch, step by step.  When they lost a round they held their gains and as soon as possible recovered their long march toward a totally transformed nation.

How they changed it brings us to the question, “How do we change it back?”

Violent revolt is both repugnant and obviously suicidal to people who understand that once that genie is out of the bottle there is no way to know which way it will go, except that the odds are heavily against it ever landing back in a stable land of limited government and personal freedom.  The power of the state is overwhelming.  Millions of shot guns, pistols, and even those terrible assault rifles we are constantly being lectured about would make no headway against Abrams tanks and F-18s. 

There are only two ways to have a successful peaceful revolution.  One: the vast majority of the people must go on strike and refuse to operate as a society until the changes have been made.  Or two: it must happen gradually line upon line verse upon verse always keeping the goal in sight and moving forward at every opportunity.  In other words we must do to the new establishment what they did to the old: not overthrow it, supplant it, and replace it in the hearts and minds of the people.

We can rest assured that all people at all times eventually yearn for freedom thus the stage is set by the very nature of man that God imprinted on us in His creation.  Free choice is the natural state of man and in the end we will return to it.  This pall of totalitarianism which is falling like a shadow across the land will one day awake to find the light of liberty cannot be quenched forever.

What should we do?  Education is the key.  If you are not a teacher become one.  Learn to show yourself approved.  Teach anyone who will listen of freedom, of the true History of the American experiment.  Become involved in any way you can to retake control of our education system so that we can train the coming generations to love freedom, truth, justice, and the American way.

And don’t lose hope.  God created us to be free, and though tyrants always seek to ensnare people in their self-serving systems we will one day be free again.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Remember what we thought couldn’t happen here has and what they think can’t happen to them will. Freedom will rise from the ashes and one day the light of liberty will once again burn brightly in America the beautiful.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Without Hope You’re Hopeless October 12, 2012

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Listening to the lies of the politicians as presented by the prattle of the biased it is easy to lose hope in a secular sense.  My hope in an eternal sense is founded on the rock of an unshakable faith in Jesus, and so it cannot be shaken.  However, in the secular resting, as it must upon the shifting sands of man in America today, hope as a measured commodity is all too often hopeless.  Seeking for hope in current events, a diamond among the discards and a point of light in a sea of darkness, is seeking something positive among the gathering gloom of an empire in eclipse.

I don’t know about you, but I cannot focus on the negative trends of our current situation for long without at least contemplating depression and I don’t mean the economic kind.  I am thankful I have a peace that passes all understanding and a hope that cannot be taken away, and I am also glad that I have a sense of History which gives me a context to frame the Now.  For if all we have is the Now it can always be changed with the next headline, the next news bulletin, or the next press release.  Having a historical context brings things into focus fitting the events of today into flow of time from yesterday to tomorrow.

Truth often becomes the victim of expediency.  For what seems true at the moment may end up as the lie of the hour.  Politicians bend truth like gravity bends light: the heavier the perceived need the greater the unperceived distortion.  Lies can become so widely believed that truth is swallowed in truism. Lies become the accepted wisdom of professional pundits chattering endlessly, supporting that which ultimately must fall for those who seek to surf a tsunami into a safe harbor.  The news is filled with half-truths and as my second favorite philosopher, Anonymous, once said, “Beware of half-truths, you may have gotten the wrong half.”

We live in a twilight time.  Twilight by definition is a time when two sources of light pierce the gloom. It is that quivering moment when both the sun and the moon hold back the darkness.  The darkness of confusion is dispelled by the brightness of the sun of truth, but it is disputed by refracted light of the moon of opinion masquerading as truth.

Casting about for something solid in the midst of the swirling fog of conflicting facts, shifting observations, and contradictory visions in the secular sense I must focus on one thing: the people.  I trust the American people.  I trust them to make the right choice when presented with unvarnished reality.  I trust them to do what must be done to preserve the bequest of our forefathers for the inheritance of our posterity.

The Declaration of Independence was written to proclaim the righteousness of the actions of “One people” with the courage to declare to a world sold into bondage that our liberty was founded upon truth. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We the People wrote the Constitution in order to perfect that which had been founded upon the truth.  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It is to this one people, this “We the people” that I look for secular hope, political peace, and the eventual solution to our current cultural conundrum. The popular definition of a conundrum is a problem without a solution.  However it also has another meaning: a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun.  Since I am referring to the second meaning I will present the riddle, “How is liberalism the solution to the problem of liberalism?”

In our through-the-looking-glass world, politicians use actual truth to obscure the obvious truth.  Congressman Joe Early (D-Mass) at a press conference to answer questions about the House Bank scandal said, “They gave me a book of checks. They didn’t ask for any deposits.”  While I’m sure it is true he was given a book of checks, obviously one needs to make deposits if one is to honestly write checks.  In this same manner the leaders of our free country promote socialism as the solution to the problems socialism has caused knowing that you cannot honestly write checks if you don’t make deposits.  Capitalism makes the deposits and socialism wants to write the checks.  As Churchill said “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

We are awash in polls.  Every campaign and every major news source constantly trumpet polls many of which contradict each other.  No matter what the polls say I believe that the American people still believe in freedom.  I believe they still believe in the equality of opportunity and the opportunity of equality.  We all aren’t the same.  Each of us is born with a particular set of talents and each of us uses those talents in a certain way.  It is my belief, that given the level playing field of individual liberty and economic freedom, the vast majority of Americans will work hard to earn what they deserve.  This is my secular hope. Heaven on earth is not possible but given individual liberty and economic freedom inherently promised in the perfect union we the people sought to create we can at least avoid remaining in the hell of socialism the Progressives are currently foisting upon us, as Churchill also said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Oh, by the way, the answer to the riddle is that Classical Liberalism promotes the general welfare by promoting the limitation of government and the liberty of the individual in order to better serve the whole. Welfare Liberalism erodes the general welfare by expanding the government at the expense of the individual in order to better serve the individual.  Thus Classical Liberalism is the solution to the problems caused by Welfare Liberalism.  And that’s the truth which brings me to one last Churchill quote for the day, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. Ignorance may deride it. But in the end, there it is.”

Hope and change may have convinced our fellow citizens to sell their birthright of freedom for the savory red stew of give me more; however, November is coming and things may change. At least we can hope.  For without hope we are hopeless and we are a hopeful people.

Don’t be discouraged by the blather of the pontificating politicians or confused by the conflicting ruminations of the professional talkers. When all is said and done we can trust us.  We the people will eventually come down on the side of truth, justice, and the American way.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens. Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens  You can contact Dr. Owens at drrobertowens@hotmail.com

Real Rebels and the Counter Revolution March 8, 2012

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Think of America’s Founders.  These were real rebels.

Sam Adams agitated against the imposition of taxes.  He penned the petitions which brought forth the rallying cry “No taxation without representation!”  While avoiding violence he led the effort to organize resistance to tyranny.  He founded the Committee of Correspondence in Massachusetts and inspired its spread to the other colonies.  He organized boycotts of British goods and the public trial of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre.

In a world of divine right kings where the common man was a pawn to be exploited and demeaned James Madison made these revolutionary statements, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”  And, “An ELECTIVE DESPOTISM was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.”

Patrick Henry did more than say, “Give me liberty or give me death.”  Before the Revolution, as a member of the Assembly in Virginia he led in the formation of a resistance movement against the tyranny of the British crown.  During the Revolution he served in the Continental Congress that passed the Deceleration of Independence.  After the Revolution he was not afraid to stand up against the desire of many to impose a Constitution without a Bill of Rights leading in the fight to maintain the greatest amount of individual liberty and the strongest limits to the central authority possible under the new Federal Government.  As if he could see the convolutions which currently threaten to swallow the Republic Mr. Henry reminded us at the beginning of our national experiment in limited government, “When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: Liberty, sir, was the primary object.”

Today the world is turned upside down.  The so called radical rebels of the sixties now own or control most things including the government.  The anti-establishment has become the establishment and the silent majority is being told to remain silent while this progressive minority transforms our nation into what their collectivist programmers have taught them it should be.  And yet they still see themselves as the rebels fighting a faceless bureaucracy for freedom never realizing they have met the enemy, and they are them.

All of this made me think about my old friend the professional revolutionary and something hit me.  He has always considered himself a rebel.  And considering he has made a living out of being a spokesman for the movements dedicated to destroying the America we have always known that kind of made sense at one time.

But in reality he is now and has consistently in the past loyally spouted the logical progression of the anti-American, anti-capitalist garbage that many of the teachers at our good old public High School tried to shove into our young skulls full of mush.  He also sounds exactly like all of our contemporaries who have spent a lifetime drinking at the well of the Corporations Once Called the Mainstream Media. Though they see themselves as deep thinkers it has always been obvious they receive their programming, their news and views from the major networks, and the transcripts in the print media.  They spout the same anti-traditional values pro-socialism talking points time after time.

Their representatives have spent decades chipping away at the America we love in the movies, on television, and in songs.  They have gained control of one component of society at a time: education, the media, the board room, the Congress, and finally the White House.   Through patience and planning they have gained control of the entire federal government and the elites of most areas of society.  Therefore I cannot see why we should continue referring to them as rebels merely because they see themselves that way.  When you listen to their current spokesmen such as the Daily Show, Bill Maher, or any of the MSNBC line up they come off as so hip and so cutting edge when in fact they agree 100% with the current administration and its collectivist anti-life New Age agenda.  What’s rebellious about that?  That’s like saying Pravda was a radical spokesman for change when they parroted whatever the leaders of the former USSR had to say.

Today my friend the professional rebel is actively helping recruit and train the brown shirt Occupy troops?  They may rail against Wall Street but that same Wall Street promotes and funds the very people these protesters vote for.  Someone is being used for something, but they never seem to wake up to ask, “Why should we pay no attention to the man behind the curtain?”

I can no longer consider myself a conservative.  What is there left to conserve?  I am a radical and a rebel, because I advocate for limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom.  These 1960s retreads who continue to advocate for the progressive collectivists who have won their revolution and now occupy the seats of power are faux rebels: organizational apparatchiks spouting the party line.

Look at how revolutionary some of our real rebels still sound today:

Sam Adams said, “The Constitution shall never be construed… to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” And “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”  He also said, “Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.”

Patrick Henry said, “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”  And, “We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of Nature has placed in our power… the battle, sir, is not to the strong alone it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”  When thinking of his most famous statement we should keep it in context and recall the whole quote, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

So the next time the nightly faux news shows are filled the antics of the faux rebels demonstrating for more government power, or the next time one of your relatives or old friends wants to fill your ear with their oft repeated mantras for the collectivist establishment tell yourself, “This is the time for real rebels and the counter revolution.”

And if pointing out the transparent hypocrisy of the faux rebels of today should ever be considered too rebellious for the faint of heart let me share one more quote from Patrick Henry, “If this be treason, make the most of it!”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

Smoke and Mirrors December 1, 2011

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Like a sleight-of-hand-artist on a busy street with a briefcase that turns into a table, three walnuts shells and a pea the perpetually re-elected and their town criers in the Corporations Once Known as the mainstream Media appear to be perennially able to fool the perpetually distracted by pulling a metaphorical quarter out of their ear.

I know a professional revolutionary.  We grew up together.  He has correctly diagnosed America’s disease as a corporate cult in a symbiotic relationship with a corrupt government.  He deftly outlines the general theory, although not the specifics of how crony capitalists and political hacks have crafted a system wherein money laundering has become national policy.  The political hacks fleece the sheeple through taxes and inflation.  They give the money to their accomplices in the flimflam corporations who funnel huge chunks of cash back to the hacks for re-election.  Every few years the sheeple rouse themselves out of their media induced coma long enough to be herded to the polls to vote for more of the same.

Yes, the professional revolutionaries and their government educated followers have correctly diagnosed the disease.  However, they have prescribed poison instead of medicine.  Their answer to the curse of Corporatism’s National Socialism is less nationalism and more socialism.  Since corporatism has built a coffin our body politic cannot seem to claw its way out of, he prescribes cutting out the crony capitalists and giving the whole operation to the political hacks. In other words if the black shirts have ruined the country let’s try the reds.  That would be as transparent as fighting the most horrendous war in human history because Hitler attempted to pull Poland into his freedom smothering embrace and then giving Poland to Stalin.

Headlines and talking heads scream for days, “The Super Committee cannot fail or the sky will fall!”  Endless hours in the 24 hour news cycle are devoted to debating, “Will the Super Committee succeed or will they fail?”  Meanwhile most of the sheeple are consumed with concern about the NBA strike, a celebrity drowning thirty years ago, or was Kim’s wedding a set-up all along.  Then we’re told he Super Committee failed accompanied by endless squabbling about who caused the failure.

It is all nothing but Kabuki, a form of Japanese drama based on popular legends and characterized by elaborate costumes, stylized acting.

Remember how the Super Committee became so super?  It didn’t come from another planet with a red sun and lower gravity.  It was instead the Frankenstein created as the cover for another rise in the debt ceiling.  The Tea Party had just made a Herculean effort in the 2010 elections and achieved an historical sweep of the House of Representatives.  Over sixty newly minted congressmen owed their seat at the table of plenty to the greatest grassroots movement America has seen in generations.  They had campaigned on changing the culture of corruption in Washington, stopping the deficit spending, severing the cord to the crony capitalists, and paying down the national debt.

Before they could even arrive the Republican leadership colluded with a recently humiliated inexperienced president and a recently repudiated Democratic leadership to extend the Bush tax cuts in exchange for more spending in the lamest of all lame duck sessions.  Then as soon as the fresh troops arrive they raise their hands in salute to the same old Republican leadership, renew the patriot Act, pass a series of continuing resolutions allowing the drunken sailors to continue spending, and then vote to raise the debt ceiling by another few trillions. Oh but they fought!  They wrangled and they refused to give the Spender in Chief more trillions of our great grandchildren’s money unless he agreed to a Super Committee backed up by automatic cuts and automatic tax increases in future deficits totaling trillions of dollars in cuts.  This was drama worthy of As Washington Turns.  If it was joke it wouldn’t be funny.

To begin with the Super Committee wasn’t filled with deficit hawks and balanced budget advocates.  It was instead filled with the most partisan members from both wings of the Party of Power guaranteeing there would be no settlement.  Obviously the plan all along was for the automatic cuts and taxes to come into play, over the next ten years.  In other words the spendaholics of this Congress are going to place limits on the credit card of following Congresses who have the ability to vote away the limits any time they want to.  How could that ever fail?

The smoke and mirrors of political theater is meant to hide the fact that all they’re arguing over is reducing the yearly deficits way off there in the future somewhere.  All they ever discussed was slowing the rate of increase.  Even if the most draconian plan so far introduced by the young firebrand Representative Ryan had been adopted the budget still went up every year, and the national debt still grew every year.  And though there would have been more and more spending with no end to the red ink in sight Ryan was portrayed as pushing Grandma off the cliff and a large percentage of the population believes it.  This is baseline budgeting wherein the proposed budget becomes the base for what is cut.  In other words our leaders can cut all day and the spending still goes up.

It is time to tell our hypnotized fellow citizens to take the blinders off.  Wake up!  The house is on fire and the firemen are pouring gasoline on the flames.

The system is broke and it is becoming very clear that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put this thing together again.  The spending goes on every second of every minute of every hour of every day.  The tax code that ostensibly is designed to pay for it all is in reality a bewildering maze meant to trap those unsophisticated enough not to hire an army of tax lawyers and accountants while legally recognized persons such as GE file 57,000 page tax returns on fourteen billion in profits and pays no tax at all.

While the hemorrhaging of our descendants wealth goes on night and day we are being set up for the next battle to raise the debt ceiling, the balanced budget amendment.  Even if this long threatened turkey could finally make it to the block what good is a balanced budget amendment?  The spendthrifts we call a government can still spend all they want as long as they raise enough money to pretend to cover at least the on budget portion of the swag.  And where do you think they will raise the money?  They will either raise taxes or print money.  Either way we pay so they can play. What we need is a spending amendment that limits spending to a prescribed percentage of the GDP.

At one time the best tongue in cheek advice for coping with the policies of the convention of confidence men masquerading as the American government was get a government job and study Spanish.  Now the situation has descended even beyond the black humor of that cynical joke.  Today the best advice may be to hunker in the bunker, store food, and learn enough History so you can tell those who come after what America used to be.

Last year I thought it was time to take the gloves off and tell America the emperor has no clothes.  To do so this advocate of the Constitution and limited government wrote The Constitution Failed.  A book which places current events in a constitutional and historical context proving that while our nation was founded upon a document meant to limit government we now stand face-to-face with an unlimited government.  I believed it was time to sound the alarm.  I thought people were ready to admit the terrible truth; our government does little more than tip its hat to the Constitution while doing whatever it wants.   The first step in solving any problem is admitting you have a problem.  The second is recognizing what that problem is.  My hope is that The Constitution Failed will help people recognize and identify the problem so that we the people can reach a solution.

As one who has been pounding this drum and singing this song for fifty years all I can do is wonder, will the drowning Lady Liberty finally see the life preserver as she goes down for the last time?  Will she finally grasp the Constitution as the only thing that has ever guaranteed limited government, personal freedom and economic opportunity in America?  Will she remember her past and save her future or will she sink beneath the waves of government regulation and drown in the red tape of an all-powerful central government?

I wrote The Constitution Failed to make a difference.  I wrote it because I see my beloved country walking off a cliff into the abyss of socialism and I am compelled to throw out the life line.

If you want to read The Constitution Failed send me an email with your address and I will send you a complimentary copy.  I want to see the re-birth of limited government.  I want to see personal liberty and economic freedom continue to exist in this: the last best hope of mankind.   And I’m ready to put my money where my heart is, limited government, personal liberty and economic freedom.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

We Can Trust Us November 25, 2011

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Listening to the lies of the politicians as presented by the prattle of the biased it is easy to lose hope in a secular sense.  My hope in an eternal sense is founded on the rock of an unshakable faith in Jesus and so it cannot be shaken.  However, in the secular resting, as it must upon the shifting sands of man in America today, hope as a measured commodity is all too often hopeless.  Seeking for hope in current events, a diamond among the discards and a point of light in a sea of darkness, is seeking something positive among the gathering gloom of an empire in eclipse.

I don’t know about you but I cannot focus on the negative trends of our current situation for long without at least contemplating depression and I don’t mean the economic kind.  I am thankful I have a peace that passes all understanding and a hope that cannot be taken away, and I am also glad that I have a sense of History which gives me a context to frame the Now.  For if all we have is the Now it can always be changed with the next headline, the next news bulletin or the next press release.  Having a historical context brings things into focus fitting the events of today into flow of time from yesterday to tomorrow.

Truth often becomes the victim of expediency.  For what seems true at the moment may end up as the lie of the hour.  Politicians bend truth like gravity bends light: the heavier the perceived need the greater the unperceived distortion.  Lies can become so widely believed that truth is swallowed in truism. As lies become the accepted wisdom of professional pundits chattering endlessly supporting that which ultimately must fall for those who seek to surf a tsunami into a safe harbor.  The news is filled with half-truths and as my second favorite philosopher, Anonymous once said, “Beware of half-truths, you may have gotten the wrong half.”

We live in a twilight time.  Twilight by definition is a time when two sources of light pierce the gloom, that quivering moment when both the sun and the moon hold back the darkness.  The darkness of confusion is dispelled by the brightness of the sun of truth but it is disputed by refracted light of the moon of opinion masquerading as truth.

Casting about for something solid in the midst of the swirling fog of conflicting facts, shifting observations, and contradictory visions in the secular sense I must focus on one thing: the people.  I trust the American people.  I trust them to make the right choice when presented with unvarnished reality.  I trust them to do what must be done to preserve the bequest of our forefathers for the inheritance of our posterity.

The Declaration of Independence was written to proclaim the righteousness of the actions of “One people” with the courage to declare to a world sold into bondage that our liberty was founded upon truth. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We the People wrote the Constitution in order to perfect that which had been founded upon the truth.  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It is to this one people, this “We the people” that I look for secular hope, political peace, and the eventual solution to our current cultural conundrum. The popular definition of a conundrum is a problem without a solution.  However it also has another meaning, a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun.  Since I am referring to the second meaning I will present the riddle, “How is liberalism the solution to the problem of liberalism?”

In our through-the-looking-glass world politicians use actual truth to obscure the obvious truth.  Congressman Joe Early (D-Mass) at a press conference to answer questions about the House Bank scandal said, “They gave me a book of checks. They didn’t ask for any deposits.”  While I’m sure it is true he was given a book of checks, obviously one needs to make deposits if one is to honestly write checks.  In this same manner the leaders of our free country promote socialism as the solution to the problems socialism has caused knowing that you cannot honestly write checks if you don’t make deposits.  Capitalism makes the deposits and socialism wants to write the checks.  As Churchill said “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

We are awash in polls.  Every campaign and every major news source constantly trumpet polls many of which contradict each other.  No matter what the polls say I believe that the American people still believe in freedom.  I believe they still believe in the equality of opportunity and the opportunity of equality.  We all aren’t the same.  Each of us is born with a particular set of talents and each of us uses those talents in a certain way.  It is my belief, that given the level playing field of individual liberty and economic freedom, the vast majority of Americans will work hard to earn what they deserve.  This is my secular hope. Heaven on earth is not possible but given individual liberty and economic freedom inherently promised in the perfect union we the people sought to create we can at least avoid remaining in the hell of socialism the Progressives are currently foisting upon us, and as Churchill also said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Oh, by the way, the answer to the riddle is that Classical Liberalism promotes the general welfare by promoting the limitation of government and the liberty of the individual in order to better serve the whole. Welfare Liberalism erodes the general welfare by expanding the government at the expense of the individual in order to better serve the individual.  Thus Classical Liberalism is the solution to the problems caused by Welfare Liberalism.  And that’s the truth which brings me to one last Churchill quote for the day, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. Ignorance may deride it. But in the end, there it is.”

Don’t be discouraged by the blather of the pontificating politicians or confused by the conflicting ruminations of the professional talkers. When all is said and done we can trust us.  We the people will eventually come down on the side of truth, justice, and the American way.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

 

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